Fire

Environmental consequences of modernising national networks.(Communications And It)

There are a huge amount of factors involved when considering the environmental impact of updating national emergency networks. In this paper the President of the TETRAPOL Users' Club examines the progress of the modernisation process in the UK and looks at why the environmental impact issue is cited as being one of the most important when considering any new large-scale communications system.

The UK government, like many other developed nations, has in the past decade initiated a programme of modernisation of the communications networks that support the operations of national emergency services such as fire, ambulance and police. The motivation behind this move is based on the development of digital radio communication technologies that can enable the emergency services to work far more effectively and in a much safer manner.

To put this into context, we do not need to look any further into history than September 11, 2001. Of the many reports issued since the tragedy, one of the more disturbing was commissioned by the New York City Fire Department and undertaken by the US based consultants McKinsey and Company' The McKinsey report into the services' handling of September 11 stated that: 'Fire fighters and emergency services personnel were hindered in their response on September 11 by multiple failures of communications systems, processes and technology limitations'.

The report was critical of the limited functionality of the radio handsets used by the Fire Service and the poor design of its radio infrastructure, which led to a lack of resilience and increased network congestion. It also high lighted the lack of communications co-ordination and information sharing between the three emergency services on the ground. …

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